News 23.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 23.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 23.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 23.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In a 2000 piece for Wired, John Perry Barlow celebrated the rise of Napster and peer-to-peer file sharing while ridiculing the entertainment industry’s effort to suppress those developments. “The conflict between the industrial age and the virtual age is now being fought in earnest,” he claimed, and the free proliferation of information was winning. Computers had made information infinitely reproducible by disconnecting it from physical media; he took this to mean that owning information had become obsolete. That had become a core principle of the internet: Information wants to be free, as another early internet visionary, Stewart Brand, famously proclaimed at a conference in 1984.

Barlow used a derogative term, set off in scare quotes, for whatever information remained vestigially proprietary: “content.” He declared that “art is a service, not a product,” and that “created beauty is a relationship, and a relationship with the Holy at that. Reducing such work to ‘content’ is like praying in swear words.” Soon enough, he assured readers, the internet would allow us to supersede the concept of “content” altogether.

Read the rest of this article at: Real Life

News 23.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 23.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In 2008, a satirical blog called Stuff White People Like became a brief but boisterous sensation. The conceit was straightforward, coupling a list, eventually 136 items long, of stuff that white people liked to do or own, with faux-ethnographic descriptions that explained each item’s purported racial appeal. While some of the items were a little too obvious – indie music appeared at #41, Wes Anderson movies at #10 – others, including “awareness” (#18) and “children’s games as adults” (#102), were inspired. It was an instant hit. In its first two months alone, Stuff White People Like drew 4 million visitors, and it wasn’t long before a book based on the blog became a New York Times bestseller.

The founder of the blog was an aspiring comedian and PhD dropout named Christian Lander, who’d been working as an advertising copywriter in Los Angeles when he launched the site on a whim. In interviews, Lander always acknowledged that his satire had at least as much to do with class as it did with race. His targets, he said, were affluent overeducated urbanites like himself. Yet there’s little doubt that the popularity of the blog, which depended for its humour on the assumption that whiteness was a contentless default identity, had much to do with its frank invocation of race. “As a white person, you’re just desperate to find something else to grab on to,” Lander said in 2009. “Pretty much every white person I grew up with wished they’d grown up in, you know, an ethnic home that gave them a second language.”

Looking back at Stuff White People Like today, what marks the site’s age is neither the particularities of its irony nor the broad generalities of its targets. There are still plenty of white people with too much time and too much disposable income on their hands, and plenty of them still like yoga (#15), Vespa scooters (#126), and “black music that black people don’t listen to any more” (#116).

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian


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In 1988, no one in France took the hip-hop movement seriously. It was the rec-room era. JoeyStarr and Kool Shen were just two kids from Seine-Saint-Denis, the 93rd ward, a neglected tract of housing projects on the northern outskirts of Paris. One black, the other white, they shared a love and a talent for breakdancing and got together practising moves in bleak lots and house parties. They started crews and listened to Doug E Fresh, Masta Ace, Grandmaster Flash, and Marley Marl. DJs played the breakbeats looped over jazzy horn riffs, cats sported Kangol hats and Cosby sweaters, and they tagged the walls of the city with their calling card: NTM, an acronym for “Nique Ta Mère” (Fuck Your Mother). There were no labels, no official concerts or shows, and the only airplay was after midnight on Radio Nova, a station dedicated to underground and avant garde music, created and directed by French countercultural hero Jean-François Bizot.

I was at a house party in a spacious bourgeois apartment somewhere in the 16th arrondissement when I first heard DJ Cut Killer’s track La Haine, better known by its infamous refrain “Nique la police” (Fuck the police). I hadn’t yet seen the film La Haine, which made the song famous, and remains arguably the most important French film of the 90s. I was at a boum, slang for a teenage house party and a tradition of Parisian coming of age that involves a great deal of slow dancing and emotional espionage. Sophie Marceau immortalised it as a mesmerising ingénue in the greatest French teen romance ever produced, La Boum. But I wasn’t dancing with Sophie Marceau. I was dancing with Caroline.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 23.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 23.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

A mathematician, a philosopher and a gambler walk into a bar. As the barman pulls each of them a beer, he decides to stir up a bit of trouble. He pulls a die from his pocket and rolls it ostentatiously on the bar counter: it comes up with a 1.

The mathematician says: ‘The probability that 1 would come up is 1/6, and at the next throw it will be the same. If we roll the die infinitely many times, the relative frequency of the number 1 will converge to 1/6, that is, to one occurrence every six throws.’

The philosopher strokes her chin, and remarks: ‘Well, this doesn’t mean we won’t get the number at the next throw. Actually, it’s physically possible to have the same number on the next 1,000 throws, although that’s highly improbable.’

The gambler says: ‘I know you’re both right, but I wouldn’t bet on that number for the next throw.’

‘Why not?’ asks the mathematician.

‘Because I trust mathematics, and so I expect that number to come up about once every six throws,’ the gambler answers. ‘Having the same number twice in a row is a rare event. Why would that happen right now?’

The gambler’s ‘argument’ is a mix of conceptual inadequacy, misinterpretation, irrelevant application of mathematics, and misleading use of language. She thinks that she has some new information that will increase her chances of winning – that there are now five numbers to choose from instead of six, and as such the randomness of the game is ‘losing its strength’. This sort of belief reinforces a gambler’s impulse to bet – it won’t make her quit the game, but rather continue gambling.

Some people believe that confronting problem gamblers with the ‘reality’ of mathematics – a kind of mathematical counselling, often called ‘facing the odds’ – can help them overcome it. After all, since our earliest school days, many of us have learned to trust mathematics as the provider of necessary and logical truths. But we also trust our senses, as well as the patterns we discern from our experiences and the words we use to communicate with one another. Mathematics has its own language, and the extent to which we should trust mathematics depends on how we interpret these words, especially when applied to physical reality. In fact, understanding gamblers’ relationship to maths reveals something deeper about the nature of mathematics itself.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

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News 23.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Before she was Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle referred to herself as “Rango’s mermaid.” The phrase comes from French-Cuban writer Anaïs Nin’s autobiographical novel The Four-Chambered Heart, which Meghan quoted often in her Suits era: “I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”

Meghan wanted more than middling cable TV success. Elizabeth Tuke, her publicist from 2014 to 2016, encouraged her to go out for blockbusters. “You could be the next Megan Fox,” Tuke told her. Instead, she embarked on a USO tour to Afghanistan, Spain, Italy, Turkey, and England; traveled to Rwanda to build wells for clean water; and campaigned against menstrual poverty among schoolgirls in India. “She is this superambitious woman,” Tuke added, which shouldn’t be a dirty word. Meghan did press Q&As in her car on the way to set at four in the morning and affirmed her respect for Tuke’s role in their written agreement, with language that declared Meghan would “never minimize me as a person or my prowess in the field.”

Her advocacy peaked in what was, at least by March 2015, one of the biggest nights of her life: a speech at the U.N. Women conference. Meghan flew herself to New York and stayed with her mom, Doria Ragland, at the Peninsula Hotel. Tuke lent Meghan her own dress, a black design by Preen with a deep V-neck, and they shed happy tears in the hotel room. “We clinked Champagne glasses, we hugged, we bounced up and down,” said Tuke, who runs her own boutique public relations agency. “It was like she was going off to get married.”

The same qualities that made Meghan a superstar—that she’s outspoken and passionate about women’s rights and, as a biracial woman, has a unique ability to connect with people who feel voiceless—made her uniquely qualified for modern duchesshood. They also rendered her a threat. As Prince Harry divulged to Oprah, his family welcomed Meghan until they “got to see how incredible she is at the job” during the couple’s 2019 South Pacific tour. “That brought back memories.” Not happy ones, was his implication.

Princess Diana dazzled with her youth, beauty, and former nursery teacher’s touch, crouching to hug small children, in stark contrast with royal women who extended their gloved hands in greeting. During a 1981 visit to Wales in which frothing crowds lined the streets, subjects cried for Diana and all but groaned at Prince Charles. “The princess had everything going for her except the ability to not upstage the prince,” Prince Charles’s valet Stephen Barry once said. (Soon after, she outshone Queen Elizabeth at the opening of Parliament. Rather than the literal throne, all anyone really cared about was the fresh-faced Diana in white satin David Sassoon and the lover’s knot tiara.) After Wales, Diana “had expected to be lavished with praise by the Palace for her heroic efforts, but no response was forthcoming,” Tina Brown wrote in The Diana Chronicles. “Diana couldn’t understand why nobody said ‘Well done,’ recalled a former Palace aide.” Perhaps because, like Meghan, she exposed the monarchy’s wooden ways.

Read the rest of this article at: Vanity Fair

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